Because you love it.

As I was reading through and responding to comments on my post on Tuesday (which were awesome, thank you guys!!), one of the comments stood out to me, in particular the very last sentence in that comment:

Tracey Leffler

I think that is a good plan. You can do this and you will do this. You just need to trust yourself and remember whatever the outcome you are doing this because you LOVE it.

We do, we chase, we follow, we thrive…because we LOVE it.

…or at least that’s what should be driving us in every single aspect of our lives.

But does that often get lost in the shuffle in the chaos of the moments, the days, the weeks, the years that make up our lives?
You betcha.

So while at first Tracey’s comment got me thinking and re-thinking how I approach running (something I love, obvs), it also got me thinking big picture too.

Everything we do in life ought to driven by love. Not necessarily love in the traditional sense, but love in the broader context.
…of living life to the fullest everyday.
…of remembering that we only have this one life, this one body, this one chance.
…to live our best lives now. Not “someday.”
But now. In whatever shape or form that takes.

With that context in mind, I got to revisiting how my life is shaping up right about now. Is it everything I hoped and dreamed it would be? Am I blooming right where I’m planted?

Am I doing…because I love it?

And you know what? My answer today is a resounding YES to all of the above.

Had I asked myself that series of questions a year ago? I can guarantee my answer would be very, very different. But today? I’m doing…because I love it. And it’s been by design, truly.

I’ve streamlined all areas of my life to make sure that everything from the friends I choose to interact with, to my approach to my (relatively) new job, to my approach to my new (beloved) role as barre n9ne instructor, to how I look at running/racing/marathoning, and even to how I approach blogging.

I do all of this (no matter how hectic it gets!)because I love it.

Bottom line. Life is too short to be doing anything in life if you don’t love it.

Sure there are obligations in life that nobody loves, I’m not trying to be all puppies and rainbows here — nobody can solely live life only doing the things that they love (though, that would be pretty great,  huh?). But by and large — we should all be striving to be doing what we love, loving what we do, loving this life we’ve all be blessed with. <–I’m a firm believer in everyday being a gift

So I guess my point is this — next time you’re struggling to wrap your head around a training run, or to motivate yourself to step outside of your comfort zone and go after that new role at work, or to simply understand how important (or not) certain relationships are in your life, ask yourself one question.

Are you doing ____ because you love it?

Fill in that blank, answer that question, and I’m pretty sure you’ll wind up much happier in the long run.
…just a hunch. 😉

On gettin’ ‘er done

So I bet most of you think I’m one of those rare breeds that never dreads a workout, right?

<waits while you nod your head in agreement.>

Wellllll, guess what? I don’t always jump for joy when it’s time to workout.
…99% of the time, yes. But there is that sneaky little 1% that comes out at the most inopportune times ever.

Like last night. After I spent all day trying to rest up, shake off this sniffly thing I got going on (#notsicknotsicknotsick), before gearing up for a rundate with the hubs after work. The clock ticked closer and closer to rundate time and as we got nearer and nearer to that time, my motivation mojo was slinking in the shadows.

This after spending a good 15 minutes bargaining with the hubs who wanted me to skip the run entirely to begin with. We ended up compromising — originally we planned to run outside, but after our little “debate”, I agreed to revert to the treadmill just in case I wound up feeling icky partway through the run and needed to cut the run short. (plus it would give Scott time to fit in a strength workout since he missed one yesterday). Seemed like a win-win (even for this treadmill-hater).

While I battled around in my head, desperately searching for my motivation mojo, I suddenly remembered a blog post I’d read earlier in the day from Lisa (an awesome blogger if you haven’t checked her out yet). She touched on how exercise is her “drug of choice” — that it’s something she not only craves, but it’s something that makes her feel good both while doing it and afterwards. She doesn’t like how her body feels on days she’s less active than normal.

And you know what?
…I have to agree. 100%.

I spent most of yesterday barely active at all — spending a ton of time on the computer and on the phone for work, and little to no time for me. Being my normal active energetic self. Figuring the least amount of exertion pre-run was probably a good thing. But instead — it totally worked against me. I felt lethargic and blah. Not from the sniffly thing I’m battling, but from the sheer lack of activity. I love my body on “active.” I feel my best then. No wonder my motivation mojo was in hiding. Sheesh. I hadn’t given it any real reason to come out to begin with!

So that brings me to last night’s run.
…on the treadmill.

It wasn’t so bad afterall. <phew> Granted, I was stopping for water pretty often thanks to good ‘ol dry mouth from having a stuffed up nose, but, it wasn’t terrible either. I went slow and steady for just over 5 miles and called it quits at that. Was tempted to push for 6 but the smarter side of me (i.e. my husband over my shoulder!) told me to stop while I was ahead.

So 5 miles all done — good by me, snuffly and all!


So I guess the moral of this little story is twofold.
…Even I have moments where motivation is hard to come by, and that’s when I dig really deep, focusing on just gettin’ ‘er done (doesn’t have to be pretty)
…Activity is an excellent “drug of choice” (to borrow Lisa’s term for it!), when done in good balance, as usual.

Now — go on. Your turn.
Get ‘er done!

“Have no limits today.”

“Have no limits today.”

Just think about that for a second. That simple phrase has so many connotations, doesn’t it?

For me – the second I opened that Dove chocolate earlier this week, I knew. This would be my mantra for 2012. My guiding light. My driving force.

2012 – the year of no limits.

Has a nice ring to it, right?

In looking forward to 2012, rather than listing out 3 or 4 resolutions or goals for 2012, I have made just one promise to myself.

To leap before looking.

Breaking free of any preconceived limitations or boundaries that maybe existed in my mind before.
26.2? Sure, let’s do it.
…a new job? Lemme at it (a post for another day, promise).
…seeing just how refined this body can become, barre n9ne-style — All.Over.It.
…harnessing my inner sponteneity, letting go of that pre-planned/go-go-go mentality…finding that Type B? I want it.

So this is me – staring down 2012 with a sparkle in my eye: I’m ready to leap without looking. I’m ready to have no limits today...everyday.


So, 26.2.

Yes, I’m* still* riding runner’s high from Sunday.
(hope you don’t mind…) 

And no, I haven’t run since then and don’t plan to until Saturday.
…just like I promised. (running smart, my new mantra…)

But, I have to get something off my chest.

I can’t stop thinking about 26.2.

Sunday’s race showed me that my body *is* capable of much more than I ever thought or ever trusted it to do.

Before Sunday the sheer thought of 26.2 miles sent my heart racing and my palms sweaty.

Now the thought of it excites me and energizes me, drives me.
…to continue strengthening my body.
…to continue to build my endurance.
…to continue to run smartly, proudly, happily.
I’m ready to conquer 26.2.

But now the question becomes – which 26.2?

I’ll be honest and say that there is one race that’s on my shortlist right now.
And it’s Chicago.

And here’s why.
…it’s the weekend of Columbus Day (so the hubs won’t have to worry about time off from teaching).
…it’s the day after my 33rd birthday (whoa).
…it’s nearly a year away, plenty of time to train (in the summer especially).
…and my mom has already agreed to RV it to Chicago to cheer us on, act as race day photog, *and* provide me with my own personal bathroom on the course. (HUGE bonus!)

It’s destiny, no?
(I can think of at least one, two, ok – three people who are probably really excited that Chicago is on the shortlist).

So now what?
Do I call Chicago “it” and start preparing (i.e. “training”…my way)?
Or do I really have to wait until February when sign-ups open to throw the gauntlet down on 26.2?

I’m thinking the former….whatcha say? 😉

…347 days and counting.

Sweat is good.

Sweat is good.

And chocolate is a gift of love <—says the wrapper from the dove miniature chocolate I had for dessert last night ❤

How’s that for two pearls of wisdom on this fine Thursday morning?  But seriously – I’m here to talk about sweat, notsomuch about chocolate (though I heart chocolate too, but let’s stay on topic, shall we?).

And here’s why: I’m realizing that I’m no longer exclusively an AM workout-er (yes, that is a word). I’m finding that I love ending my day with a good sweat-fest *almost* as much I love starting my day with one.

Working out at night, I’m digging for two reasons: 
…it’s giving me a  better semblance of balance. I’m forced to leave work with enough time to get to barre n9ne at night (or to meet up with my husband for a rundate, depending on the day!), no excuses. <—even when traffic threatens to make me late for class like <ahem> last night!

…it shakes off the everyday stress that comes with life and I find myself coming home much happier and more centered. I think it’s mainly because I’ve had time to focus on me and my sweat (yes, my sweat) and not much else. I walk away from barre n9ne or a rundate feeling “me” again.

That’s not to say that I’m now exclusively a PM workout-er. Because I truly LOVE working out in the morning as I firmly believe its the *only* way to start the day on the right footing. With a good sweatfest. Sweat is good. So good. For the mind. For the body. For the soul. And getting in a killer sweatfest well before most people even *think* about hitting snooze on their alarm clock? Well, it’s kinda badass if you ask me. I heart my AM workouts, yes please!

So what’s my point?
I guess I have three points here:

  1. Sweat is good (duh)
  2. Just because you’ve always been an AM or a PM workout-er, doesn’t mean you have to stick to that; there are benefits to both (LOTS of them) <—and giving a shot at one vs. the other or mixing it up with a little of both for a change might be all it takes to snap you out of a rut or a plateau
  3. Chocolate is a gift of love, oh yes it is.
But again, to recap – Sweat. Is. Good. 
(just in case that point wasn’t clear enough or something…) 😉

Seeking motivation mojo?

Last night, I was trying to amp myself up for a run with my husband. By now, you all know how much I love our rundates…I just tend to love them MORE when they happen in the morning before excuses have a chance to settle in.

So what did I do?

I turned to twitter for a little motivation mojo

Jess Sutera
JessFit654 Jess Sutera
T-minus 30 minutes until my run. Must. Wake. Up. Someone tell me to run like the wind tonight! I need to get excited about this! #runchat
And you, my friends, responded with just the right words, as usual!  
Melissa Burton
@JessFit654 Run like the wind! Run for me (since I can’t right now)
Roz Griffiths
@JessFit654 Run like the wind! Run like you stole it! Run for the hills! Run!! 🙂
Jessica Bold
@JessFit654: run like the wind! You’ll wake up once you get out there. 🙂
Stephanie Greenough
@JessFit654 Take that light, fit little body of yours and have a successful fun run before dinner with Scott!!

Now really – how could I *not* be amped up to get my run on after such motivating tweets??

And amped up is exactly how I’d describe our run last night. Holy speedy legs! Even my husband – who is most definitely a fast runner (but runs my pace so we can run together, what a guy…) – proclaimed our run was a fast one last night.

I was feeling particular good – perhaps because I was taking those fancy schmancy new sneakers of mine to the road vs. the ‘mill for the first time. Or perhaps because the weather was awesome for a rundate last night – a little warmer than usual, a slight breeze, a bit of sunshine left at the tail end of the day. We ran a good pace, caught up on our day and were feeling really good. Especially towards the end of our run, when we saw Scott’s best friend Justin drive by us. In true Justin form, he yelled out the window “RUN!!!” So I used that as my cue to run extra hard that final half mile. Which resulted in a nice sweaty runner’s glow…as you can see here:

(my husband doubles as my personal photographer…he indulges me, we’ll say that, haha) 

So, the moral of this story? In similar fashion to twitter accountability for early morning workout motivation, twitter for motivation mojo works wonders, as exhibited by last night’s fabulously sweaty 6.5 miler.

Give it a try sometime – twitter for accountability, or for motivation mojo – I promise it’ll never let you down. 🙂

Snippets of “haven”

So, most people have just one thing they’d consider to be their “haven.” The place they go to feel safe, happy, content – all is right in the world in that little haven of theirs.

For me? I prefer snippets of “haven” depending on my mood. Yesterday? There wasn’t just one thing that became my “haven” — there were snippets of “haven” throughout the day that seemed to catch me at just the right moment:

Got up to face down the ‘mill yesterday morning and the second the alarm went off, I groaned. Not in the mooood. Yet, I’d tweeted out my intentions the night prior (hellllooooo twitter accountability!!) and I knew a good sweat would get me ready to face Monday. And then it hit me – I have new SNEAKERS to take for a spin! Immediately – I was over-eager to hit that treadmill. And hit it I did – a good sweaty 5-miler in my new sneaks (Brooks Ghost 2 – my first pair of Brooks…I do believe I’m in love!). 

Look at these bad boys – hot, right?? <—“hot” in a nerdy runner sorta way…

new sneakers = snippets of “haven”

After work, scrambled to get to barre n9ne for one of my favorite classes of the week – barre n9ne method. Lots of barre work in this class, which I LOVE as we all know! And last night? I was super-psyched to test out all that I’d learned on Sunday. I focused my ass off during class last night, oh yes, I did. I was a sweaty mess by the end, but had the hardest time wiping the big geeky grin off my face knowing that I left it all on the barre (TWSS??), worked as hard as I could and I’m pretty sure my form was kind of awesome.

barre n9ne method after a long-ass Monday = little snippet of “haven” 

After class, I was all set to pick up some sushi on the way home for dinner. Was thinking about it all. day. long. Call up my favorite sushi place near my house. Guess what? They’re closed on Mondays. Fail, fail, FAIL!! After whining to myself (and to my sis via text), I went home and whipped up a rather tasty breakfast for dinner. Scrambled eggs with tomatoes, basil and goat cheese (swoon!), a cinnamon raisin bagel thin with peanut butter and jelly and sliced strawberries on the side. It wasn’t sushi, no. But it *was* damn* tasty. (I would have left ya’ll with a picture of dinner but there was no time, stomach was talking up a storm by 8:30 last night!). 

Dinner fail becomes dinner success? = a final little snippet of “haven” on a Monday night. 

That and a giant hug from this guy when he got home from bowling. Just what I needed – his arms are the best haven of all. 😉

(from his first day of teaching a couple of weeks ago, huge-ass grin on his face. LOVE! <3) 


The double digits

I don’t know what it is about hitting the double digits while training for my next half marathon but it totally inspires confidence in me.

Probably because 10 miles is *only* a 5k away from 13.1? 

Or maybe hitting the double digits on Saturday’s run had nothing at all to do with the double digits and everything to do with how I felt on Saturday:

…like my legs had a mind of their own. There were quite a few times where I looked down to make sure my legs were still underneath me. They felt so speedy!

…like I’m feeling SO ready for another 13.1 in just five weeks. Signing up for another half marathon so close to the last one feels like the best decision ever. This training “cycle” feels much less like training and way more like running…just running. And I dig it. 

…like if I can feel *this* good running in the double digits, I wonder what it would feel like to run 15, 18, 20 miles. Or even 26.2. Hmm. 

Clearly that number is on my mind and I’m not sure why.

Am I really ready to tackle something that so few in this world will ever experience in this lifetime? (I kinda like the sounds of that…).

Is 2012 the year I’ll conquer 26.2? Am I thinking this way because my birthday is coming up and one year older (the big 3-2, oy) makes me want to prove that I still got it?

Or is it because I can?

I’m not sure. But 26.2 – you’re on the brain.

I have lots more to say on this topic over at my latest runspiration’s blog – “Because I Can” (how aptly named!). Samantha ran her second marathon this weekend and has been such an inspiration to me of late – so go check out my quasi-continuation of this post over at her blog.

She’s thinking she can talk me into all 26.2…what do you think?

“No love, no friendship can cross the path of our destiny without leaving some mark on it forever.”

“No love, no friendship can cross the path of our destiny without leaving some mark on it forever.”

This is exactly how I’d capture the barre n9ne 60-day challenge – and meeting Tanya – in a nutshell. It (and she!) has left an indelible mark on my life, on my sister’s life and continues to leave a mark today. Something I am eternally grateful for.

I’ve been wanting to share the “what’s next” in this barre n9ne journey and am finally ready to share…at least *some* of what’s to come.

For me, what’s been truly awesome about this challenge wasn’t so much about the physical changes to my body (which I’ve loved, don’t get me wrong), but the mental strength I’ve found and, maybe even more so – that this challenge gave me a chance to inspire those around me.

I know, I know… isn’t that what this blog is for?

And it is…but the blog has been more of a way to virtually reach people who are like me and love to work-out and stay fit and/or those that are trying to get and stay fit. And I’ve loved the outlet that my blog has been for me to channel that passion. But what the barre n9ne challenge gave me was an opportunity to both challenge myself and share those challenges on the blog, but it also gave me a chance to meet some awesome people through the challenge – at the studio (hello Tanya – rockstar!;  Julianna – fantastic instructor and all around good person), during class, on twitter and through blogging.  It’s been an outlet for me to find “me” – and the “me” I can identify with in others.

I’ve loved that the challenge became this new outlet for me – a way to share my passion, to hopefully inspire others to seek out new challenges and goals, and even a way to fill a whole that teaching Group Kick left once I stopped teaching last winter. And that’s sort of where the next phase of this experience is leading me. Tanya is kicking off the next 60-day challenge on August 1st – where she’s opening the challenge up to anyone and everyone who wants to transform their bodies (and transform it, they will!).

And who better to lead and mentor the next round of barre n9ne challengers through the next 60 days but the original barre n9ne 60-day challenges themselves – my sister and I!

I LOVE this next phase of the challenge – everything about it:

…watching the group of challengers get excited (and a little bit scared!) about what the next 60 days holds for each of them.

…hearing about their goals and what they hope to get out of the experience.

…sharing more about how this challenge has changed me indefinitely and passing along any learnings I gathered from my own 60-day journey.

…and encouraging each of them every single day of the next 60 days of their own transformations.

And why not kick things off in high style at a fabulous 60-day challenge launch party?? Yes, a launch party – complete with a demo class, a Q&A with yours truly (and my sis!), and lots of time to talk to the other challengers and potential challengers who attend the party to see what this 60-day challenge is really all about. It’s happening next Sunday afternoon at the barre n9ne studio and I think it’s going to be a blast.  <–if you’re in the area, seriously stop by, it’s going to be a TON of fun, I promise!

But seriously, I’m just so thrilled to finally have that outlet (beyond the blog) to inspire and motivate others to live their best life right now. And that’s truly what this challenge has taught me – how to live my best life. Every single day. And I cannot wait to experience the next 60 days with each of the barre n9ne challenges. I promise you ladies, it will be life-changing. Utterly and truly. Let’s kill it together, shall we?? 😉

Like I said, “No love, no friendship can cross the path of our destiny without leaving some mark on it forever”…and I hope this 60-day challenge leaves an eternal mark on each of you. In the best possible way. 

Pinpointing a ‘moment’

Pinpointing a ‘moment’I define this as being so present in a moment that you can actually see the turning point take shape right before your eyes. 

Last night was that moment.

I rushed over to barre n9ne after work to get to long & lean legs followed by fusion and watched the dark stormy clouds roll in. As I sat at the stop light at the corner near the studio, I saw the lights flash out. Uh oh- lights are out. This can’t be good.

I run into the studio. Pitch black. Everyone is chattering, wondering, hoping for the lights to re-appear. Tanya is walking around with a flashlight – probably wondering “Do I keep the class and try to do it in the dark? Will anyone stay?? Should I just cancel??” I could practically see those thoughts swirling around in her head. In my head? “please keep class!!!! I’ve been looking forward to this all day!”

After about fifteen minutes and still no electricity, Tanya asks if we’d be up for a dimly lit class (the studio has windows usually covered with blinds, she opened them and it let a bit of light into the room) with just her iPhone for music. Nearly every one of us eagerly clamored into the room. Ready to work. In the dark. No air conditioning (it was in the 90s yesterday).

Tanya starts the class, her iPhone playing her tracks for the class and I gotta give her major credit. She didn’t bat an eye, she just went for it. With a huge smile on her face, so proud that we all stuck around, in spite of it all. And we followed her, without hesitation. It was surreal.  The up/down of the leg lifts, the quiet breathing you could hear now that their was no other noise to override that (like the white noise of AC for example). We were just there to work. And work we did.

About 20 minutes into the class, the lights turned back on and we cheered, but kept moving. It wouldn’t have mattered if the light stayed out the entire class, we weren’t stopping. And it was awesome.

Pinpointing a moment. 
That moment.
Where commitment means more than practicality.
Where dedication means working out in the dark with your favorite instructor leading the way.
Where change is slowly transforming your body, your mind, your will.

Pinpointing a moment.

Your turn – pinpoint a ‘moment’ for me. This one’s still leaving quite an impact on me today. Funny how a simple moment can have that effect.

<Quick edit: if you want Tanya’s take, check out her blog post here on how she felt going through last night’s “dimly lit” barren9ne class. 😉 >